The Fruit of Self-Control
My eyes scanned the list of foods on the sheet in front of me as my stomach twisted into knots. Surely, this was a joke. I had reached the end of the road with doctors, unable to find an answer to the stomach issues plaguing me. For the next year, I’d turn to various diets eliminating food groups, allergens, and certain carbohydrates in an effort to heal the unknown. My complicated diet continues today, but though I’ve said no to countless sweets and junk food, I find that I’m just now learning what it means to have self-control.
Of all the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5, the final one seems the most difficult to me. Virtues like goodness or joy sound enticing, but the ring of self-control strikes feelings of condemnation in my heart. My head fills with visions of throwing out our ice cream or taking a mallet to our phones and tvs.
Often, these frightening images show up because we don’t have a grasp of what self-control truly means. We’ve fallen for the lie that this trait is rooted in discipline: a smaller number on the scale, a growing savings account, or a deleted phone app. We turn to strict rules and regimens to align ourselves with a controlled spirit. Less screen time, check. Don’t yell, check. Budget, check. With our own laws, we link the chains that leave us tethered to shame when we fail. Is it any wonder this fruit of the spirit is so hard to swallow?
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